Through the VisitScotland Growth Fund, the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG) has teamed up with the Scottish Land & Estates’ Moorland Group and sporting lets agent CKD Galbraith to highlight the importance of rural tourism pursuits, such as shooting, fishing and stalking. The income these generate supports remote communities and year-round management of grouse moors directly benefits rare wildlife by protecting a unique habitat.
VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay said, “The Glorious Twelfth is a renowned date and marks the start of what will undoubtedly be a good season for this important tourism sector. Through the VisitScotland Growth Fund, the SCSTG has boosted Scotland’s reputation as a country sports destination to a wider audience in the UK and Northern Europe.
“Country sports operate year-round and therefore provide a valuable extension to the season for accommodation providers, restaurants, retail outlets and other activity providers and attractions.
“The Glorious Twelfth provides Scotland with a great opportunity to showcase our country sports credentials to wealthy visitors from around the world ahead of 2014, which marks an incredible year for Scotland through major events such as the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games and Homecoming. Our ability to host such a diverse range of events and activities ensure that Scotland continues to have something for every visitor.”
A number of successful marketing activities have taken place including a new website - countrysportscotland.com - exhibiting at international exhibitions and the CLA Game Fair in the south of England.
The estimated overall value of all types of shooting, stalking and fishing to the Scottish economy is in the region of £350million per year. Grouse shooting contributes around 10% of that figure, much of which is recycled back into protecting beautiful Scottish moorland for tourists to enjoy all year round.
As red grouse and deer are not artificially reared, external factors including the weather and predators have a huge impact on the success of a sporting season. This year’s dry summer will mean healthier game stocks which translate to a bigger boost for country sports enterprises.
Robert Rattray of rural property and sporting let agents CKD Galbraith gave his thoughts on this year’s grouse forecast:
“Although Scotland endured a cold and long winter, in recent weeks this has made way for sunshine and almost unprecedented warm weather. Careful assessment of grouse stocks is revealing potential for one of the best seasons for many years, with some unusually large broods being seen. A late start to the breeding season means that shooting will extend through to September and October in many places.
“Grouse shooting on average generates around £30million for the Scottish economy but I would imagine figures this year will be much higher, with all the knock on benefits of seasonal employment in local communities.”
Victoria Brooks, Project Coordinator at the SCSTG, said: “After last year’s disappointing country sports season, caused mainly by the poor weather, the strong outlook for grouse shooting this year is all the more welcome. Grouse shooting season is followed by open season on wildfowling, partridge and pheasant shooting which extend until the end of January.
“We have had enquiries and bookings from people all over the world via the countrysportscotland.com website who will spend the hunting season on the moorlands of Scotland and in doing so generate huge income, support numerous jobs and help our indigenous wildlife and their habitats survive.”
Tim Baynes of the Scottish Land & Estates Moorland Group added: “Country sports tourism is changing all the time to improve the customer experience, develop sporting opportunities and raise awareness of Scotland as a leading sporting destination. The role of country sports as a rural employer and custodian of areas of conservation interest cannot be overstated.
“Many may not appreciate the conservation aspect of moorland management, but the activity required to enable successful grouse shooting – careful rotational burning of the heather, control of problem predators and careful integration with existing farming practices – all enable practical conservation of rare bird populations such as waders at minimal cost to the taxpayer.”
Notes to Editors
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Notes to Editors:
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- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation has three key roles:
- To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
- To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
- To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
- VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to www.visitscotland.com
- The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy.
- According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
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- For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to www.visitscotland.org/about_us/our_focus/annual_report.aspx